Democracy and the Internet- Nora Hakramaj
The internet may not seem as a luxury anymore because about 87% of U.S. households are connected to the internet. In a 2014 study done by the Pew Research Center they found that only 57% of Americans over the age of 65 go online. Whereas 97% of Americans ages 18-29 go online.
The internet can be seen as the most democratic social network. But, this medium has also presented threats to our democracy. This can be seen by two divisions. One between people who can afford to use the internet and those who can’t. This term can be best explained as digital divide.
However, the rising of smartphones is helping narrow this digital divide. Another way to narrow this digital divide is by greater public access to the internet through libraries and other public facilities and with WiFi. Some people come form household with no or little access to the internet. With schools and libraries, you get more access to the intern.
Although the web claims to be worldwide mainly the U.S , Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the UK have much of its activity and content. In nations such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia or Syria the government permits limits or no access to the web. In other countries their phone lines and computers are almost nonexistent. However, as mobile phones become more popular they could provide one remedy to the global digital divide. One way how is because almost everyone has a smartphone that has access to the internet. So you don’t really need a computer for internet access.
In my opinion we are living in the digital age. The internet allows for greater freedom of expression to some extent. One way how is social media and blogs. With blogs and social media, you are given your freedom of speech to some extent. These social media sites also have the power to actually enforce democracy. The internet also helps educate and inform citizens what is happening in their country and around the world. And educate them on politics and our government. The use of the internet is allowing for a better informed voting population. The internet strengthens democracy by creating a community, it cannot be controlled by government, it increases voting participation and it spreads democracy world-wide.
Question: Is the internet a threat or gift to democracy?